7:19 AM |
JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD
Author: Susanne Marie Knight
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Available electionically at:
Year: 2452. Seeking a cure for her ill brother, Sophia (Sam) McLaren must leave Earth to journey into the unknown. She finds galactic intrigue... plus a love transcending the vast expanse of space. But can she persuade JorVaal 5 that love can be forever?
JorVaal 5 Lanquist has a galactic catastrophe on his hands¾plus a headstrong female from the despised planet Earth. Will he be able to set aside age-old prejudices and admit he’s actually feeling an ancient emotion called love?
Newly arrived on the strange world of Xaspaar, Sophia hurries to meet her friend Fredd for lunch. The planet’s leader, JorVaal 5, who dislikes Earthers, isn’t aware of Sophia’s origin, and believes she agreed to meet him for a sexual encounter.
Sam hurried down the shiny grey corridor as fast as she could. She tried not to stand out in the crowd, which was pretty hard to do with a Yankees’ cap sitting squarely on her head. While all the people passing her did have a spring to their step, evidently running was something that just wasn’t done. But she had to hurry; she was that late. It was really impolite to keep Fredd waiting.
She concentrated on keeping one foot in front of the other and refused to be distracted by the strange sights around her. Deep breaths fueled her motion. After leaving the Health Bureau, she’d gotten lost, of course. No surprise there. All these tunnels looked the same. All dim, sleek, and impersonal. And no windows. In fact, ever since arriving, she hadn’t had a glimpse of the outside.
She scratched her upper arm and kept her vision focused straight ahead. How could these people stand being sequestered away like this? Like worms. Even the Health Bureau where Mart was having tests done was windowless--no rooms with a view, no peepholes, nothing. She’d never experienced claustrophobia but if she didn’t get a chance to see at least some sky, she’d go nuts. This was like being buried alive.
Her heart thudded to keep up with her activity. Wiping away perspiration from her upper lip, she adjusted her cap once again. Central Control was supposed to be up ahead. Only a few more steps.
Without warning, a man stepped right in front of her. “Citizen... dear one, no need to continue your travels. Here I am.”
Unfortunately, her own personal brakes weren’t as effective as her reliable bicycle brakes back home. She bumped into whoever was foolish enough to block her way.
But circumstances demanded that she apologize. “Excuse me--”
Oh, good heavens! It was him; it was JorVaal 5 Lanquist. Of all people to literally run into!
As she caught her breath, she had a chance to look him over. His athletic physique was again enhanced in the form-fitted GCC uniform. When he folded his arms across his massive chest, each movement rippled the velvet-like material of his shirt. Powerful thigh muscles bulged from the close-weave fabric of his pants.
Heavens, the man was impressive, all right. And just as handsome as she remembered.
But definitely not safe.
She took a good step back from him. “I, um, I do beg your pardon.” Her upper lip, previously wiped, now beaded up again with perspiration.
“No need, dear one.” He smiled and took her elbow. “I do not hold your tardiness against you. Come, we still have eighty-five point four minutes to the interval.”
His firm touch sent tingling sensations throughout her entire body. Pleasurable and alarming. But she could be firm as well. With her other hand, she disengaged her arm.
“I’m late, that’s true. But my appointment is with Fredd Desilva, not you. If you will excuse me.”
Ignoring the passersby’s curious appraisals and JorVaal’s surprised expression, she turned away intending to continue walking.
But he had other ideas. He gripped her upper arm, effectively stopping her movements and her blood supply.
“You are Fredd’s friend?”
She tilted her head at JorVaal. “Yes. Is that so odd?”
Lines of concentration marred his high forehead. “You cannot mean you prefer to be with him over me.”
His words were a statement, not a question. Of course it would have been terribly rude to laugh at his conceit, but his affronted expression sorely taxed her.
She sucked in her cheeks instead. “He’s my friend, and actually, to be perfectly frank, you and I haven’t even been introduced.”
He must have been aware that standing still in the middle of the corridor was attracting attention, although maybe he was used to people staring at him. Releasing her, he gestured for her to follow him.
As the direction was the same as Central Control, she complied.
“Explain to me why being acquainted has anything to do with satisfying biological appetites,” he demanded.
She glanced away to hide her smirk. Biological appetites! Another way to phrase making love.
Her mirth now under control, she looked him in the eye. “For one thing, knowing the person you’re eating with increases the chance to have a more stimulating conversation.”
He mulled over her words. “Yes, that is true. So you go to dine with Fredd. That is good, however, I was referring to coitus.”
She felt herself flush; she couldn’t help it. Who was used to plain speaking about such a private topic? Certainly not her. And certainly not with an extremely attractive man no matter what his opinion of himself was.
She twisted her top button open. “Um, I would have to say the same thing, then. The better you know a person, the better the, um, relationship.”
Goodness, did these people talk about everything so openly?
Thankfully, she spotted the doors for Central Control. Now she could escape! “Well, I have to go. Bye.”
JorVaal blocked her way again. With his size, he was good at that.
Resigned, she sighed. “Now what?”
His pale blue eyes seemed to pierce a hole in her. “As I am in need of release, I shall accommodate you in this formal fashion.” He inclined his head. “I am JorVaal 5 Lanquist.”
His silent “as if you didn’t know” hung heavily in the air. “And now,” he continued, “tell Fredd you will dine with him after we are finished.”
The nerve of the man! The laughter that she had been able to suppress before, now came tumbling out. JorVaal’s steely glare quickly silenced her.
With her lips quivering, she managed to say, “But you don’t know who I am, do you?”
Of course he didn’t. She’d heard of JorVaal’s distaste for “Earthers.” She’d bet a cool million once he found out who she was, he’d treat her like she had the plague.
“Inform me, then. This game grows tedious.”
“You’re so right. It does,” she agreed. “I am Sam McLaren. Pleased to meet you.”
She held out her hand for him to shake.
After a second, he gripped it with his. “McLaren?” His deep voice held a note of uncertainty.
Heaven help her but she couldn’t resist. “Yes, perhaps you’ve heard of me? Sophia Audrey McLaren. My brother Mart and I just arrived from Earth.” She gave him a wide grin. “Nice little planet you have here, JorVaal.”
His sallow complexion turned ghastly white and his jaw noticeably dropped.
As she neared the glass doors, they swished open. “Well, it’s been fun talking with you. See you around.”
It was only when the doors closed, that she allowed herself to laugh again. If she lived to be two hundred, she’d never forget the look of pure outrage on the man’s face!
Hope you enjoy!
Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist